Even for a seasoned actress like Kate Winslet, the role of Nazi guard Hannah Schmitz in The Reader was a game-changer, writes Brad Balfour in the Huffington Post. “I sort of walked away like some car crash victim who somehow hadn't been hurt on the outside,” Winslet said. Her character is an illiterate, unrepentant German who seduces a 15-year-old, and her preparation ranged from a study of the Holocaust to a reading class in New York.
“If the audience feels morally impure, if they feel any degree of sympathy towards her,” Winslet said, “that's what is interesting.” Dealing with reactions to the character and the film, based on a popular German book, left the actress almost schizophrenic. “I would sometimes think, ‘Oh my god, that's not what I thought. Oh shit. Am I wrong?’ she said. “Does it matter who's right or wrong?”